Wherein I Am a Credit To My Race
As one of the Tyler Perry ladies left for the day, spreading goodbyes around, she made sure to give me a special message.
Benjamin, you are a credit to your race.
I laughed at the time, partly genuine and partly out of politeness. Then I thought about it. Was this comment, though benign, inherently racist?
Fortunately, I have a 100-percent accurate test for racist comments: Had I, a middle-class white male, said the same or a similar thing to the Tyler Perry lady, would she have laughed it off as I did, with no hard feelings?
Yet this doesn’t insult me. Maybe because masculinity isn’t a gender nearly as much as femininity, I’m used to whiteness being neither a race nor an ethnic identity.